07. Oktober 2013 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „We, European citizens, we do not want to be shamed of EU member states!“ – AEDH · Kategorien: Italien, Mittelmeerroute · Tags: ,

(Unofficial translation)

When will the European Union recognise its responsibility in the tragedy of Lampedusa?

We, European citizens gathered within AEDH, we do not want to be ashamed any longer of the member states of the European Union!

Brussels, 7th October 2013

Sheltered by the careful border surveillance of FRONTEX, behind the Greek-Turkish wall, protected by the fences of Ceuta and Melilla, Europeans feel sorry for the fate of hundreds of Africans who died off the coast of Lampedusa.

Once again, they deplore the fact that children, women and men, driven by fear, war or misery, believed in the possibility of reaching a better world for them. As if this horrible event was the first! As if we did not know that in the last two decades the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic have become the graveyard of thousands of migrants!

Once again, the human traffickers are denounced. However, the European security policy is facilitating the work of these people as with each new obstacle on the road to exile, tariffs rise in symbiosis with increased dangers.

Once again, afflicted, the European Commission has called on the member states to show a little bit more solidarity with states “experiencing an increasing influx of refugees”, in this case Italy, but also Malta or Greece. As if the tragedy of Lampedusa was the tragedy of Italy!

In doing so, the Commission fails to remember that in June this year the European Union had the opportunity to change the rule that imposes on states of external borders the responsibility of examining asylum applications. Member states opposed the modification of the Dublin Regulation and were satisfied with simple adjustments to the procedure. Even worse, they explicitly legitimized the detention of asylum seekers, thereby violating one of the fundamental principles they have yet agreed to through international conventions.
It is those very same European rules that restrict the access to legal immigration and the arrival of asylum-seekers on the territory of the European Union; it is the strengthening of border controls and deterrent patrols in international sea that forces them to take maritime routes in an increasingly risky way in order to reach the nearest border.

However, while they do not show “solidarity” in the reception of refugees, we can be sure that, out of fear for an imagined invasion of massive numbers of migrants, European leaders will rediscover a spirit of ‘solidarity’ when it comes to strengthening and reinforcing the capacity to secure the geographical periphery of the El Dorado formed by the 28 member states.

In order to better monitor international waters, from now on drones will be added to maritime or aerial patrols. The new EUROSUR system will identify small boats better, they tell us; probably more to push migrants back to their coasts of departure than to assist migrants in distress[2]. With regard to Frontex, its resources will be increased once more, but not to enable it to ensure effective rescues at sea.

Is it not enough? Then, the EU will also need to prevent migrants from departing, leaving the camps close to war zones where they are confined and from crossing Africa from South to North, from East to West dreaming of a better future. To this end, the EU hastens to propose third countries, especially Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, to sign “mobility partnerships” and readmission agreements. Thus, these countries become the new border guards of Europe!

That’s enough! We, European citizens gathered within AEDH, we do not want to be ashamed any longer of the member states of the European Union!

We ask the member states to rediscover the meaning of the words “solidarity” and “humanity”, in order to give back to the EU its role in the concert of nations it should never have abandoned, for the promotion of liberties, the respect of rights, and the reception of refugees.

We call upon all European states to take their share in the reception of asylum seekers. To this end, the Dublin Regulation must be abolished and new rules adopted, in order to involve all states in taking charge of asylum seekers, regardless of the country they enter first.

In this sense and in view of the next European elections, we demand that the issue of migration and asylum is put at the heart of debates.

For now, we ask for the means deployed by the EU to protect itself to be put at the service of migrants in order to enable them to regain their dignity and their rights at our borders; borders they have to reach safely.

We solemnly call upon European citizens, their respective organizations and elected officials, in particular the European Parliament, to, beyond emotion, combine their efforts to compel EU member states and the European institutions to drastically change their policies and not to yield to xenophobia and inward-looking attitudes.

(unofficial version; original: see press release in French)

Press contact:
Catherine Teule, vice-chairwoman
Serge Kollwelter, chairman
AEDH, Association Européenne pour la défense des Droits de l’Homme
33, rue de la Caserne. B-1000 Bruxelles
Tél : +32(0)25112100  Fax : +32(0)25113200  Email : info@aedh.eu

The European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (Association Européenne pour la défense des Droits de l’Homme – AEDH) consists of associations and leagues defending human rights in the countries of the European Union. AEDH is an associate member of the International Federation of Human Rights (Fédération internationale pour la défense des droits de l’Homme – FIDH). For more information, visit www.aedh.eu.

[1] Voir le communiqué de l’AEDH : « Eurosur : Quand la surveillance des frontières prime sur la vie des migrants » – Bruxelles, 20 juin 2012 http://www.aedh.eu/Eurosur

[2] See the AEDH Press release : « Eurosur : When border control takes precedence over migrants‘ lives » – Brussels, 20 June 2012 http://www.aedh.eu/plugins/


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